Thursday, December 2, 2010

When Rejection Makes Me Laugh

The obligatory picture of cute kids laughing over a symbol of the publishing industry

No, this is not one of those "You might be a writer if..." jokes.

This is much funnier than that (well, to me; courtesy laughter welcome). :)

This morning, I had a good laugh over a rejection letter.

See, I've been writing my whole life, but only seriously since about 2008, really seriously (with a critique group and deadlines) since July 2010.

In Winter 2008, I typed The End on my third book, a Nano novel that never had a beta reader or deep revision. (I've since realized it didn't really have an ending either.)

Like all newbie writers, I eagerly snail-mail queried five agents and e-submitted to one publisher, certain that one of these would like my novel idea enough to help me publish it. (Ah, sweet naivety!)

The agents all got back to me within the month with their polite no's, some more quickly than others. Really, I was spoiled and didn't know it, since in 2010, only half those agents would have responded at all. That's right, two and a half would now return my carefully crafted letter with silence. (hmm, The Half Agent... I feel a middle grade novel coming on.)

Amid my being spoiled by speedy rejection, I had a nine-pound baby. I mean, I had a whole pregnancy, potty-trained my older son, and then had the second baby. This year, at this moment, that second baby is fourteen months old. He walks, runs, and climbs on the kitchen table when I'm not looking. I've written two more books. I've run a marathon. My oldest son can write his name. My family moved to California, then moved again. I've read over fifty books. I've seen the first three Twilight movies.

This morning I opened my email and found a rejection from the 2008 publisher.

And that's how slow publishing is.

The end.

What? That didn't make you laugh? Maybe it's just me. (links to Natalie Whipple's inspiring post)

Moral of the story: Work hard. Live your life. Cast your nets, but don't wait for your miracle. Time is precious but unforgiving. Most of all, just keep swimming. 

TBR pile running dry? No? Well, check out Kelly's Best of 2010 for some middle grade goodness, anyway. You know you can't let that To-Be-Read stack dwindle below three feet!

And Krista at Mother. Write. Repeat. has an interview with the one and only Kathleen Ortiz, who is running a fabulous pre-Christmas contest, so check that out in your "spare time."

Happy Thursday, my friends. Friday is coming. I promise.

Just for funsies, what's the longest you've had to wait for a response from an agent or editor (either positive or negative)?


  1. wow..that IS Slowwww! :(
    oh u said, 'keep swimming' :)


  2. That definitely made me laugh. about slow.

  3. Oh my gosh! Seriously? Why did that publisher even bother? Weird ...

  4. Hee hee. Thanks for the courtesy laughter, guys!

    Jessica, I had the same thought. Still, I do appreciate the courtesy of a response. It was polite, if a few years late. :)

  5. That's insane!!! That made me laugh a bit too. I agree with Jessica: why did they even bother? That's ridiculous.

    I love your moral though.

  6. I'm still waiting for responses from some of them. I snail mailed a bunch of publishers, too. Only one ever got back to me. I'll be expecting my rejection from them in a few years, I guess :)

  7. Yes, I laughed. Couldn't help it! Don't know why the agent even bothered. But 'neath it all there's some serious stuff.

    Keep swimming!

  8. Yikes!!! That's a looooooong time! I only sent out a few queries before I realized I needed to revise... okay rewrite and fix a plot hole. Of those queries 2 didn't respond - but they both state they only respond if interested. So, I think my longest is only about 2 or 3 weeks. I feel very lucky now!

  9. I just found your blog - thanks for stopping by mine and providing such a great critique.

    What a great post to meet you on. =) Thanks for the laugh and the reminder.

    Rock on.

  10. I say, he/she "bothered" because you were worth an answer. Keep swimming indeed!

  11. I've been waiting almost two years on a short story submission for a magazine.

  12. Very wise advice! It took me many years to finally become published. You should see my rejection file. It's huge. You know you're getting close when they start telling you specific areas to change and to please send it back to them if you decide to make the changes. It happens. I'm living proof. :)

  13. Ha, ha... yes, "slow" doesn't even begin to describe it. I heard of one picture book author who got a rejection letter AFTER her picture book hit the shelves of B&N!


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